“Stay In The Boat”: Troubadour Wyatt Easterling’s Poignant Ode to the Depressed

Wyatt EasterlingI’m just getting to know Country, Americana & Folk troubadour and producer Wyatt Easterling through Music Business Mentoring, a platform he launched earlier this year with singer-songwriters Marlene D’Aoust and Jen Smith that features an incredible resource of leading music industry professionals who are acting as mentors to those who are trying to find their way in a very challenging business.

When life feels like it’s too much to handle we may think about stepping out, but that’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Things are seldom as bad as they seem so I say: “Stay In The Boat.” ~ Wyatt Easterling

Wyatt doesn’t know that I struggle with depression and may not know that I’ve been grieving the death of my sister and best friend, Karen, who passed away 14 months ago from ovarian cancer leaving her husband and twelve-year-old twins behind. To say it’s been a challenging couple of years for me and my family has been an understatement. I have often not wanted to “stay in the boat” myself but I’m fortunate to have enough support in my life to keep me from jumping over board. However, not everyone does.

As synchronicity would have it, Wyatt reached out to me and shared his song “Stay In The Boat” because he noticed a post I made on behalf of my client, ArtsCan Circle, about the rising aboriginal suicide rate in Ontario and he thought I might like to share it with ArtsCan Circle colleagues and supporters. ArtsCan Circle is a not-for-profit organization that sends teams of musicians and artists to remote Indigenous communities engaging groups of children and youth in workshops to facilitate creative expression and teach skills in playing musical instruments, songwriting, visual arts and performance arts. ArtsCan Circle gives those at-risk youth a reason to “stay in the boat.” So, not only would I like to share this thoughtful, poignant song with them, but I’d like to share it with you too and with anyone who suffers from depression.

Former head of A&R for Atlantic Records Nashville, songwriter, producer,  executive and session player, Wyatt Easterling describes the inspiration behind his song:

Stay In The Boat

“A life long friend of mine called me back in the summer as I sat on a plane waiting to pull away Stay In The Boatfrom the gate, and as we talked, he began to reveal to me that he was suffering through a growing discontentment with the world around him. As the conversation progressed I began to realize that he was slipping into a serious depression and I became uneasy with some of his dark humor.  When he pointed out that I would know what happened if his sailboat came ashore one day without him, I could only say “hang in there,” things will be brighter tomorrow.

About this time the flight attendant said I’d have to turn off my phone to prepare for takeoff, but before I did I fired off a text to my pal: “We don’t know what tomorrow will bring so just stay in the boat.” Isn’t it funny how we always make a stab at humor when we don’t know what to say?

I spent the next three weeks touring from Michigan out to Alberta, Canada checking in with my friend, as frequently as guys will do, which is to say about once a week. My way of broaching the subject was to simply ask: “How ya doing,” his response: “I’m still in the boat.” “Just stay in the boat” became our motto as we hung up with each other.

This song came together over the ensuing miles in the car, running along the Bow River in Calgary and hanging out in airports. I finished it during a 4-hour layover in Charlotte waiting for a 25-minute flight to Raleigh.

Two days after I got home from my tour Robin Williams did the unthinkable. A week later I was in Nashville producing a cd for an artist and as fate would have it there was time to record this song. If you think it could help someone please pass it along.”

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

When you don’t quite know what to say to your loved one who is suffering from depression, try sharing this song with them or with anyone whom you believe would gain comfort from it.

“Stay In The Boat” is available through CD Baby and iTunes.

www.wyatteasterling.com

Emily Maguire Starts Over Again

This morning I received this newsletter from English singer-songwriter Emily Maguire, whom I adore.

“Hi everyone,

As promised, I can now tell you about the writing project I’ve been working on these past few months.

I’ve written a book called ‘Start Over Again’. It’s based on the verses of that song (from my album ‘Believer’) and is a collection of poetry, prose, song-lyrics and some very personal diary entries. It tells the real story behind my songs…

You might have heard me talking about it yesterday morning on Radio 2. If you want to know more, click here. The book is available now to order from Amazon or direct from Shaktu Records.

Hope all’s well in your world.

With best wishes,

Emily”

www.emilymaguire.com

I have been so inspired by the fact that the very brave and beautiful Emily has just revealed to the world that she suffers from bipolar disorder and she has written this book, Start Over Again about her experiences, that I’ve been sharing it with my entire social network.

Everyone has dealt with depression at some point or another and I have several friends who have bipolar disorder – some who are willing to talk about it – and others who are not. While I am not bipolar, I am very emotional, have suffered with depression, lacked the self-confidence to manifest my dreams, and can’t deal with a lot of stress very well any more. When I’m stressed out, I can’t sleep and we all know how hard it is to function properly when we don’t sleep well.

I’m someone who is not afraid to talk about most things, but many people are and they need the kind of inspiration and encouragement that someone like Emily can provide.

One of the things I struggle with most is trying to not put out negative thoughts and words in public and thereby manifesting more negativity into my life (The Law of Attraction scares the hell out of me sometimes!). I’m not an optimist by nature and I have to work hard at seeing the light in a dark situation.

We should concentrate on taking care of ourselves first and then focus on what it is that we truly want to do. I know that my focus has been really scattered for a while now and I have to work extra hard at keeping it on track just to get the things accomplished that I need to do in a week. I can’t imagine how hard Emily’s struggle has been (or any of my friends who have bipolar disorder) and I can’t wait to read her book because I think it will be extremely inspirational.

These are the lyrics to Emily’s song Start Over Again from her latest album, Believer:

START OVER AGAIN
(Emily Maguire)
______________________________

Caught in the muddy waters, falling down
If I could breathe then I would drown
I’m fifteen, I feel older than God
I got dreams and a hole in my heart

And he said
Go slow, be kind, be wise
Start over again

Out of the muddy waters, I come round
I said I’m off to London town
My love is strong, the years roll by
But now it’s gone in the blink of an eye

And he said
Go slow, you need time, be wise
Start over again

Thrown in the muddy waters, I come down
And you were waiting there on the ground
And then you put your hand in mine
You put your heart on the line

And you said
We’ll go slow, you need time, be mine
And start over again

So pour on the muddy waters, I won’t drown
I’ll be walking a hilltop town
And I will make the most of time
And someday to a child of mine

Well I’ll say
Go slow, be kind, be wise
Start over again, just start over again

If you haven’t already discovered this amazing and talented woman and her gorgeous pop/folk music, drop by her Facebook page to see her and listen for yourself.

Thaw by Fiona Robyn

Book Review
Title: Thaw
Author: Fiona Robyn
Publisher: Snowbooks
Released: 2009
Pages: 350
ISBN-10: 1906727090
ISBN-13: 978-1906727093
Stars: 5.0

British author Fiona Robyn has written a visceral, poignant, and often agonizing story of a young woman named Ruth White who at 32-years-of-age doesn’t know whether she wants to be 33. Her small life is unfulfilling, seemingly void of love or meaning, and the death of her mother when she was a young girl haunts her still.

Her relationships are strained and awkward and her self-esteem is almost non-existent, even though she is well-educated and works as a microbiologist. Ruth is very good about saving her money and compulsive about keeping a tidy flat, in which she harbors her deep, dark secrets. Ruth has decided to give herself three months in which to make up her mind about whether she will commit suicide. In her daily diary entries we unravel the mystery of her past, bear witness to her present, and ultimately root for her future.

Robyn shares Ruth’s tale in a first person narrative of magnificent prose. In a very clever form of self-marketing, she created a blog for the book that was launched on March 1, 2010 and posted an entry every day for 3 months. She also used Facebook to spread the word and created a remarkable reading event for those of us willing to take the ride with her. She is an excellent, courageous writer who has created one of the most honest and truthful characters I have ever come across. I care about Ruth more than I’ve cared for any fictional character in a very long time. She is embedded in my consciousness. Fiona Robyn has written something painfully beautiful.

She has also written about depression with much clarity and compassion. I fell in love with Ruth and found myself hoping for her happiness and wanting her relationship with Red, the Russian artist who paints her portrait, to blossom into a love she could find redemption within.

In Thaw we meet Ruth’s father and his second wife, Julie, her aunt Abbie, her equally depressed co-worker Mary, and her friends Zoë and Sara and each character is written with subtle nuance.

I spoke to Dad today. I thought I ought to call him to keep things moving after seeing him last week. It was a difficult conversation. At least before, I was able to talk to him about surface things and he’d let me… Now he keeps asking me silly questions like, ‘How do you really feel about Julie?’ or, ‘Tell me the truth about what it’s like to work at the hospital.’ I kept taking the conversation back to where it should have been. Then out of the blue, he said that I should look after my own money if I want to. I said, ‘No, I want you to,’ and he said, ‘Really? You’re sure?’ with a warm glow in his voice. I did want to look after it myself. But it was an important transaction between us, that he did it and that I was grateful. Like when a friend is known for making good soup, and everyone always says, ‘Good old Pete and his amazing soup.’ And the soup is good but not really amazing. But Pete likes to mention it himself every so often, and his friends really do care about him, soup or no soup, so the soup becomes the symbol. There’s a place for that. We don’t have to tell the truth all of the time.

I knew someone who committed suicide and I know the pain that her decision caused for her loved ones. She hung herself and left a note. She’d done all the research so she would know how to do it effectively and on the last few days of her life seemed to be more calm and happy than she had been for a long time. She’d already made peace with her decision and she knew she wouldn’t have to endure the pain anymore.

It really does take more courage to live than it does to die. If Ruth goes through with it, I’m going to be heartbroken, I must say. But then again, this is a heartbreaking story. I’ve never witnessed pain being written about in such an exquisite way.

There are only a couple of journal entries left on Fiona’s/Ruth’s blog and I don’t know how it’s going to end yet but I decided to post my review now anyway. I’m praying for a happy ending even though that I know that in real life, things don’t always turn out that way.

Fiona Robyn has a fan in me, for life.